Flowers in the orchard!
Soil and vegetation management are important tasks for ensuring a proper and healthy fruit growing. Fertile soils are needed which offer all nutrients for the fruit tree. Sufficient water is necessary and is provided by rainfall and also irrigation where needed. Additional vegetation in and between the tree rows might compete with apple trees and is therefore managed by the grower. But it is also of importance to create and maintain plant diversity, especially the provision of herbs which are allowed to flower. We have pointed out that many beneficial organisms like pollinators or predators need sufficient and all-year-round available plants which offer nectar, pollen, prey or shelter.
Within the EcoOrchard-project we are currently testing the establishment and suitability of perennial, inter-row flower mixtures for better pest control in organic orchards in several European countries. We will be able to evaluate the success of this management tool under different European fruit growing conditions.
Important experiences on such measures were already made in other European countries. You can find nice information on selection of plants and management advice here:
- In English:Habitat manipulation in agriculture
- In German:https://www.uni-hohenheim.de/organisation/publikation/bluehstreifen-mit-heimischen-wildkraeutern-in-apfelanlagen-zur-foerderung-natuerlicher-gegenspieler-von-blattlaeusen
- In French:http://www.grab.fr/bandes-florales-pour-favoriser-les-antagonistes-des-pucerons-en-verger-de-pommiers-guide-pratique-9636